Amber Heard Seeks to Throw Out Verdict in Johnny Depp Defamation Trial

The actress' lawyers are asking a judge to toss out the $10.35 million verdict against her, citing lack of evidence and juror problem.

Amber Heard's attorneys are asking a judge to toss out the $10.35 million verdict against her in ex-husband Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit.

According to court documents obtained by ET, Heard's lawyers filed a post-trial motion on Friday claiming that the evidence presented in the case didn't support the verdict and raising concerns that one of the jurors had not been properly vetted.

In the motion, Heard's lawyers slammed the jury's decision to award Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, calling the amount "excessive" and "indefensible." It should be noted that the judge in the case reduced the compensatory damages awards to $350,000, per a legal state cap.

Heard, for her part, was awarded $2 million by the jury in compensatory damages for her counterclaim but nothing in punitive damages. The jury found Depp liable after his attorney referred to Heard's claims as a "hoax."

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2019, stemmed from a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post, where she claimed to have been the victim of domestic violence, among other allegations. While Depp was not addressed by name, his lawyers argued that the piece defamed him and significantly hurt his career.

The new motions filed by Heard argue that Depp's legal team did not provide evidence of "actual malice" with regards to her op-ed. Which would mean that Depp's team was supposed to prove that when Heard wrote the article, she did not believe she had been abused, and intentionally lied about having been abused by Depp.

"Instead, the evidence overwhelmingly supported Ms. Heard believed she was the victim of abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp," the motion states.

"Because actual malice is a subjective standard, whether Ms. Heard believes she was abused must be judged by her definition of abuse," the motion argues. "Ms. Heard testified unequivocally that Mr. Depp abused her physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Mr. Depp presented no evidence that Ms. Heard does not believe abuse can be physical, emotional or psychological."

The motion also asked the judge to look into "potential improper juror service."

The docs claim that Juror 15 was listed as being born in 1945 in documents given to the legal teams and submitted through the court ahead of the trial. However, the motion claims that publicly available information states that Juror 15 was actually born in 1970.

"This discrepancy raises the question whether Juror 15 actually received a summons for jury duty and was properly vetted by the Court to serve on the jury," the motion claims.

The docs argue that "Ms. Heard's due process was compromised" due to the potential discrepancy, and that this should be taken into account and considered as a grounds for a new trial to be ordered.

But legal analyst Mitra Ahouraian tells ET that it's unlikely Heard's motion will change the case's verdict.

"Virginia law says that you should check the identity of jurors ...  but, that’s not an actual law, it’s a suggestion," Ahouraian notes. "It's not a directive. So the fact that that didn’t happen, as unfortunate as that is for Amber Heard’s team, it does not necessarily mean that due process was violated."

Ahouraian also feels Heard won't win when it comes to contesting the amount of damages Depp was awarded in the verdict.

"With respect to the fact that these damages are excessive, really that has to have been a miscarriage of justice. The $10 million has to be so excessive that everyone's shocked by it," she explains. "If that's the case then potentially that part of the lawsuit can be retried. ... The problem is we’re dealing with an A level celebrity and 10 million dollars is not too far-fetched for the money that [Depp] lost by virtue of her statements."

"I think at this point she has lost so much credibility to the public, that it's going to be very hard for her to bring any kind of claim or any sort of allegation or even, you know, say that she was victimized even more," she adds. "I don't think anyone is believing her anymore, so I think she just needs to put this to bed."

For more on the legal battle between Depp and Heard, see the video below.